Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday today
On the last Sunday of the sixth week of Lent, Orthodox Christians celebrate Palm Sunday.
This day is associated with the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Residents of the city, on the day before, amazed by the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus, who lay four days in the tomb, came out to meet the Messiah with palm leaves.
Since we do not grow palm trees, and the first to bloom in spring is willow, as a tradition in Ukraine people come to church with willow branches which revive, awaken in spring.
People believe that consecrated willow has healing and cleansing power: the symbolic beating with sanctified twigs protects against diseases and evil eye. On this day, little children are slightly ‘stroked’ with a sprig of the vine, and when they hit, they say: ‘It isn’t me who beats, it’s the willow, Easter is coming in a week’.
A decoction of willow has been used since ancient times to cure diseases and washed the face to prevent the evil eye. And nowadays willow, along with other medicinal plants is used in folk medicine for the treatment of migraine headaches, fever, as well as an alternative antiseptic.
Also to kick the cattle to pasture for the first time in spring people use the consecrated willow branches, so that animals are not hurt or lost and come back home on time.
Palm (willow) Sunday is a token of spring, new hopes and expectations. Moreover, it is one more reason for us to stop and think just for a moment and evaluate our deeds, say a prayer to the Lord, wishing all the best for our family and friends.